The day after the Madrid plane crash, I referred to the 'ghoulish Spanish obsession with blood and gore". In his post of today, Ben over at Notes from Spain majors on what's called morbo here, for which the dictionary definition is 'morbid curiosity'. As Ben describes it, this is wider than just an interest in pictures of blood and splattered brains and extends to an avid desire for sensationalist insights into the reaction of everyone involved, especially the victims. Well, those that aren't actually dead; the latter are only required to give a picture. Perhaps because it's August and there's little else to report on but the Olympics, things appear to have been worse than ever with this tragedy. Graeme at South of Watford has also blogged on it. For me, the most fascinating point made by Ben is that it might be a recent phenomenon, attributable to a particular TV program. But the most surprising aspect is that this deterioration in human behaviour can't be laid at the door of Rupert Murdoch and his tabloid empire. Imagine what will happen when he eventually moves into the Spanish-speaking world.
El Mundo today prints a survey on the popularity of the five Spanish presidents since the end of the Franco era. Not surprisingly, the greatest affection is held for the man [Sr Suarez] who presided over the transition to democracy, and the least for the man [Sr Zapatero] who is presiding over the current recession. Sr Z, in fact, comes last in each of the various voting categories. Except for one. He's felt to be at number 3 when it comes to getting along with the king. Some consolation. But at least it's more than Gordon Brown will ever be able to lay claim to, mutatis mutandis.
The local Formula 1 fans down in Valencia must have been terribly disappointed to see Fernando Alonso shunted out of the race on lap 1, even if he had almost nil chance of winning it. So it was nice to see them getting some consolation by whistling and jeering at Lewis Hamilton as he mounted the podium. I'm sure there was no intention whatsoever to upset him, so it was all perfectly tickety-boo. Just a bit of fun. Sportsmanlike, even.
I'm not sure I believe this but it's reported in the British press today that officials were advising anyone planning to go to Heathrow airport this afternoon to greet the UK athletes’ on their return from China to stay away for “health and safety reasons”. If so, it's easy to see why I regularly say that life in Britain in now insane.
Another example of an interesting search that brought someone to my blog - are subsaharans homogeneous? I'm not sure I've ever addressed this.
What I'd like to see or hear in Spain. No. 1
No, sir, I'm sorry we don't have that item in stock. [As opposed to just 'No!']
What I'd like to see or hear in Spain. No. 2
No, sir, I'm sorry we don't have that item in stock. But we can order it for you, if you like. [As opposed . . .]
To be a self-respecting town in Galicia these days, you must have a medieval fair in your fiesta calendar. Inevitably, quite an industry has grown up around this phenomenon. Pontevedra's version is now 8 or 9 years old and will take place in early September. Click here to see photos of previous years' events. And here, if that isn't enough for you.
It's reported that the good folk of neighbouring Asturias are increasingly turning their backs on grey and white granite and painting their houses in all sorts of bright colours. Rather as they do down in North Portugal. Let's hope that Galicia responds to this squeeze by copying the trend. For it's not for nothing that the Spanish regard Galician granitic styles as the least appealing - if I can put it that way - of all the varied architectural genres of this nation of nations. Not that there aren't some exceptionally beautiful examples.
This weekend saw the first nights of the transfer of Pontevedra's botellón from the streets of the old quarter to a site across the river, away from everyone. It appears to have been a 100% success in clearing the streets and allowing the residents to get to sleep but only about a 10% success in getting the kids to cross the bridge. So, where were they this weekend? And - Who cares?